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Leading an online feedback community is no easy task. Factor in an industry that is slow to change and heavily regulated, and it becomes a walk in the park… in a snowstorm… barefoot.

But, it doesn’t have to be. While traditional retail and product development companies are typically at the forefront of using technology and data to guide business decisions, health care organizations have faced countless barriers:

  • Strict regulations
  • Resistance to sharing personal information
  • Difficulty utilizing data in a meaningful way

With the help of an insight community, CDPHP® has broken through these barriers and has learned more about consumers and their extremely valuable health care opinions than ever before.

We launched CDPHP Insights™ in the spring of 2016 as a closed community, allowing only commercial CDPHP members to participate. Commercial members are CDPHP insured members who have CDPHP insurance through their employer. And after realizing that there is much more information to be gained from all health care consumers, CDPHP opened the community to the general public. Meaning, you do not need to be a CDPHP member to participate.

Health care impacts everyone in some way, and their voices should be heard. Here are some best practices and the five lessons I learned when breaking out of the health care box with CDPHP Insights.


1.    Regulations Are Not Restrictions

Anyone working in health care is at least somewhat familiar with state and federal regulations surrounding patient privacy. Do not let these regulations scare you out of gathering information from health care consumers! Don’t forget, these consumers are just like any other consumer – take Amazon, and the hundreds of data elements the retail giant collects. You can look at it this way – Amazon consumers are also health care consumers.

Health care is a service industry and consumers expect high-quality, affordable care, innovative products and services, and to have their opinions heard and valued. Regulations are not restrictions when it comes to getting feedback on consumer preferences, input on marketing materials, assessing health literacy, and understanding what consumers really want when it comes to their care.

Through CDPHP Insights, CDPHP has been able to better communicate with consumers and develop products and services that meet them where they’re at.


2.    Ignite Change

Change in the health care industry is often slow…and sometimes unwelcome. The CDPHP Insights community has allowed our plan to embrace change at a rapid pace – and enabled us to evolve, adapt, modify, and change again.

CDPHP is an innovative company, but with several competitors in the region, speed to market is critical. We make strategic and informed decisions, but sometimes need to get a quick temperature check on products, services, or even our messaging. The availability of a platform of engaged health care consumers has allowed us to test theories and ideas quickly, and ignite change throughout the company.


3.    Consumers Want to Share

There is a misconception that health care consumers do not want to share anything with a health care company. After two years of managing CDPHP Insights, I can tell you firsthand this is not true. Consumers are happy to share with anyone willing to listen – as long as they’re also willing to take action. It isn’t enough to provide a platform for consumers to express thoughts and opinions; to be truly successful, you must acknowledge the consumer voice and demonstrate the impact. If someone took time out of their day to respond to your survey or provide their feedback, you’d better show them the value they are providing.

For example, we realized that many of our members do not understand the basic terms used in everyday health care, such as the difference between an embedded and an aggregate deductible. Based on the results of our survey and by working with our internal health care literacy committee and communications team, we began making a concerted effort to either use less complicated terminology or do a better job of explaining difficult concepts.


4.    Recruitment is an Ongoing Process

With the expansion of CDPHP Insights to all health care consumers, recruitment efforts became even more important than ever. We’ve embraced educating those who are less familiar with our brand to show them the true value of CDPHP and the impact the organization has on the community as a whole.

One of the best recruitment practices CDPHP employs is partnering with a local not-for-profit and donating $1 to the organization each time a new CDPHP Insights member joins the community. This directly aligns with the CDPHP mission of giving back.


5.    Don’t Be Afraid to Fail – As Long As You’re Learning

If you are a new community and you haven’t grown as quickly as anticipated, don’t write it off as unsuccessful. Evaluate your recruitment method, check out the length of your profiling questionnaire, leverage your Community Relationship Manager, and make changes.

If your community has been around for a while and you feel as though your content is getting stale, take a step back and ask the community for input. What do they want to provide feedback on or learn more about? Every interaction with your community is a chance to learn more about your consumers.

What started as a closed, small community has now grown to be a valuable resource at CDPHP. There isn’t a day that goes by where the CDPHP Insights community isn’t referenced in some way. The insights learned have helped to shape the products, services, and overall value CDPHP provides to all consumers – whether they are members or not.


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